Retailers in the U.S. started 2018 strong, coming off fantastic holiday sales during November and December 2017 that increased 5.5 percent over the same period in 2016 and exceeded NRF’s forecast. What a difference a year makes.
Coming into 2019, some retailers delivered strong 2018 holiday sales while others struggled as highlighted in the Wall Street Journal “Why Only Some Retailers Got Their Holiday Wishes.” This has further increased the gap between leaders that continue to invest in delivering individualized experiences founded on a common purpose of greater good for society and laggards that cannot keep up.
Let’s explore why retailers need to invest, what they need to do, and how they can transform into intelligent enterprises to better serve their consumers.
Consumer loyalty is the reason retailers need to continue to invest in delivering individualized experiences.
Consumers are increasingly being offered individualized experiences by e-commerce companies on digital channels. As a result, consumers have a clear idea of exactly what they are looking for—whether they are looking on digital properties or browsing in the store. Consumer loyalty is shaped by their experiences and if the “promise made” was “kept.”
The common currency is trust. Was the engagement authentic? Was the promise kept with on-time delivery? Is the product or service genuine, sustainable, and safe?
Trust helps establish a common purpose of greater good for society between a consumer and a retailer with a shared set of values and brand identity. This in turn builds consumer loyalty and repeat purchases.
Many retailers have made significant strides in understanding their consumers’ needs. However, the bar of “individualized experiences” continues to rise.
Retailers need to build on their digital transformation journey. They need to re-imagine their business models and business processes to take advantage of the immense opportunities offered by continuous innovations in machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), and data intelligence to embed “intelligence” in every aspect of customer engagement.
Leading retailers are investing to transform into intelligent enterprises so they can anticipate and offer individualized experiences to every single consumer. This will help build a deeper, trusted relationship with the consumer and secure their loyalty.
At SAP, we are working with leading retailers in many countries to help them transform into intelligent enterprises. Goodwill Industries of Denver has worked with SAP to improve efficiencies in retail stores and has given back to the community by helping people get back to work. Brooks Brothers has deployed SAP to provide company leaders greater insights to increase team performance, develop talent, and extend employee tenure at all levels.
We bring the knowledge, innovations, partner expertise, and people to help you to chart your own journey as you transform into an intelligent enterprise. We will work with you to deliver the business models and business processes that help keep the promise of individualized experiences to your consumers. Your consumers will experience authentic engagements, which help build loyalty to your brand and align on the common purpose of greater good for society.
Rakesh Shetty is vice president of Consumer Industries Marketing at SAP.